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Slow-growing babies more likely in normal-weight women; Less common in obese pregnancies
Date:4/27/2012

given an accurate diagnosis before birth and found that the rate was the same for obese and non-obese women, suggesting that missed diagnoses are not a major problem in obese pregnancies.

"Our results defeat the idea that undiagnosed growth restriction is behind increased rates of fetal death in obese women," noted Thornburg. Many obese women also have diabetes, which could influence the risk of fetal death, but more research is needed to understand whether or not that is the case.

Though stillbirth, most often defined as death occurring after 20 weeks gestation, is not very common in the general population it occurs in around six of every 1,000 births in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention it is more common in specific populations, including obese women, African Americans and teens.

While the cause of stillbirths in obese women remains elusive, Thornburg says "One thing we do know is that we are not just dealing with obesity in pregnancy anymore. We are seeing a real increase in extreme obesity, which may represent a different condition altogether, so we need to look at moderate obesity compared to severe, morbid obesity."

Thornburg and Gilmandyar reviewed birth record data from more than 16,000 women who delivered at the Medical Center between 2000 and 2010. Obesity was defined as having a pre-pregnancy body mass index or BMI of 30 or greater and growth restriction was defined as being below the tenth percentile of expected birth weight for gestational age. After taking into account the effects of diabetes, high blood pressure and tobacco use, growth restriction remained lower in obese women (8.5 percent) compared to non-obese women (nearly 10 percent).

"While our study shows that obesity by itself may not be a risk factor for growth restriction, it is still important to closely monitor women who also have high blood pressure or who are smokers, because these are established ri
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Contact: Emily Boynton
emily_boynton@urmc.rochester.edu
585-273-1757
University of Rochester Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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